To apply for a UK visa in the USA you need to:
- apply online
- pay your fee
- go to your appointment
- post your application
1. Pay your fee
Follow the instructions when you apply online to pay your fee.
2. Go to your appointment
You must book your biometric appointment at an application support centre when you apply online. This is to have your photo and fingerprints taken (known as ‘biometric information’) by the US Department of Homeland Security at the place you choose when you make your appointment. When you visit for biometrics, take your current passport and a copy of your biometric confirmation receipt. You can print this after you apply.
Print out your application form and bring this with you. Please don’t bring mobile phones, cameras and other recording devices inside US Department of Homeland Security application support centres because they are not allowed.
Changes to the visa application process for children under 5
Children under 5 applying for a UK visa from within the United States will also need to attend an appointment at a US Department Of Homeland Security Application Support Center (ASC). At the time of the appointment, children under the age of 5 will need to have their photograph taken but will not be required to provide their fingerprints.
3. Post your application
Your biometric confirmation receipt will be stamped at your appointment. You then have 2 weeks to post this copy of your application form, your passport and your supporting documents to UK Visas and Immigration.
You should post your application to:
UK Visas and Immigration
British Consulate General
845 Third Avenue
International Operations and Visas
3.1 Return shipping
To have your documents returned you must provide a fully addressed prepaid electronic shipping label (no ground services and no non-electronic waybills). Put your return shipping label and envelope inside the package, and keep a copy of the waybill for your records.
4. Priority visa service
This is an optional service where you can pay an extra fee to fast track your application and have your visa application processed ahead of non- priority applications.
You must pay for the priority visa service online on the VFS Global website before you post your application. The VFS ‘User pay services’ page contains further information on how to apply and pay for this service.
Non- settlement applications:
The priority fee is $156 US for non- settlement applications. We aim to process these applications within 3-5 business days but this may take longer during peak times.
The priority fee is $468 US for settlement applications. These applications will be placed at the front of the queue for assessing ahead of non-priority applications.
Print off the receipt and include it with your application when you post it to one of the addresses above, writing the words ‘priority service’ in large black print on the outer envelope.
You cannot purchase the priority service at the biometric enrolment centre.
5. Super priority visa service: New York
The super priority visa service enables customers to receive a decision within 24 hours.
The service costs an additional $936 US and is available to eligible customers who can attend their appointment in person at the British Consulate General in New York.
You must pay and apply online by selecting your location as New York to book a super priority visa service appointment on the VFS Global website. The VFS ‘User pay services’ page contains further information on how to apply and pay for this service.
You can only submit your biometric data at the British Consulate General in New York and not through our application support centres.
5.1 Who can use this service?
Customers and their dependants applying in one of the following immigration routes are eligible:
- Tourist and short stay (visitor) visas
- Points-based system Tier 2 and Tier 5 applicants with authority to be living in the USA
- Point-based system Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) if you are currently in the USA for a similar purpose to take up in the UK
- Points-based system Tier 5 (Temporary worker – Creative and Sporting) if currently in the USA for a similar purpose to take up in the UK
- Points-based system Tier 4 student visas - for applicants who are resident in the USA and are subject to different document requirements under Tier 4 of the Points-based system.
Your appointment will only be confirmed and your application accepted when you have paid the correct fee.
You should read and sign the terms and conditions before applying and submit the signed copy with your visa application.
5.2 General information
UK Visas and Immigration strongly recommend that customers with any form of adverse immigration history do not purchase these services. Using the priority or super priority visa service does not guarantee or imply in any way that your visa application will be successful. All applicants must meet the requirements of the relevant UK Immigration Rules.
The fee for the priority service and the visa application fee are not refundable if your visa application is refused. Your application may take longer if you:
- do not include the priority service receipt with your application, or submit it afterwards
- do not write ‘priority service’ clearly on the outer envelope
- have sent your application to the wrong location
- have previously been refused a visa for the UK, or refused leave to enter the UK
- have previously been deported, removed, or otherwise required to leave the UK
- have overstayed a period of leave in the UK
- have previously been refused a visa for Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United States of America or the Schengen countries
- have been convicted of a criminal offence in any country
- do not submit all relevant documentation with your application
5.3 Registered couriers and agents
UK Visas and Immigration in New York allows registered courier companies and agencies to submit visa applications in person on behalf of UK visa applicants daily. If you wish to submit an application this way you will have to pay the priority service fee. If you would like a courier or agent to submit your application as well as collect your documents you should contact them directly.
You will have to submit your biometric information before using a registered courier. Registered couriers and agency staff do not play any part in, or influence the outcome of visa applications. If you choose to use a courier you will also have to pay additional fees.
6. Contact us
You can contact our International Enquiry Service provided by Hinduja Global Solutions who work in partnership with UK Visas and Immigration. Emailing the service is free, speaking directly to an advisor costs £1.37 per minute and a 10 minute webchat will cost £4.
From the US dial 1-888-683-9699. Opening hours are 7am to 4pm EDT. Calls can be handled in English or Spanish.
HGS staff do not play any part in, or influence the outcome of visa applications.
Make a complaint
Letters or emails about decisions to refuse a UK visa will not be treated as complaints. If you do not agree with the decision on your visa application, please use the existing appeals channels.
If you have a complaint about how your visa application has been handled, or the conduct of UK Visas and Immigration staff you should write to the Entry Clearance Manager and send your letter of complaint to the address where you posted your UK visa application. Alternatively, you can send your complaint by email using our International Enquiry Service.